Take Over 51 for Rice vs. Notre Dame College Football Pick

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 12:11 PM GMT

Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014 12:11 PM GMT

Rice Owls travels to historic Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday to open their season. Read our college football betting odds expert’s article on where the wagering value lies in this contest, and culminates with a free pick.

Home Opener at the Grand Cathedral of College Football
The Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” will host the Rice Owls on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana. The kickoff is slated for 3:30 PM ET, and the game will be televised nationally by NBC. This will be the opening game of the 2014 season for both teams. According to College Football odds, Notre Dame is a 21.0 point favorite, and the posted total is 51.0. This will be the first meeting since Notre Dame defeated Rice 54-11, and covered as a 32.0 point favorite back in 1998.

 

The Owls Aiming for a Huge Upset
Rice comes off a tremendous 2013 season in which they went 10-4 and capture the CUSA title. Rice also finished the 2012 campaign with 5 consecutive wins, and has gone 15-4 overall in their last 19-games. The Owls return 6 players each on both sides of the ball. They’re biggest loss will obviously be former starting quarterback Taylor McHargue. We’ll see what the Owls are made of in their first 2-games that both come on the road, at Notre Dame on Saturday, and then 2-weeks later when they travel to College Station to take on the Aggies of Texas A&M.

 

Irish Dealing with Early Distractions
The Notre Dame program was dealt a heavy blow recently when 4-players were dismissed from the team for academic violations. The dismissals included 3-players who were projected starters, in defensive linemen Ishaq Williams, receiver DaVaris Daniels, and cornerback KeiVarae Russell. This comes on the heels of a similar incident involving starting quarterback Everett Golson prior to the start of the 2013 season. The latter has since been reinstated to the University and football team.

 

The Head Coaches
David Bailiff will embark in his 8th year as the head coach of the Rice Owls. The Owls have gone 39-48 during his first 7-years, including going a combined 17-10 the past 2-seasons, and 2 bowl appearances. Under Bailiff the Owls have gone a dismal 8-21 combined in games 1 through 4 of the season, and were 6-14 ATS in those contests when installed as an underdog of 4.0 or more.

Brian Kelly has certainly shown he’s been up to the task of being the head coach of one of the most storied programs in all of college football. The Irish have gone 37-15 during the last 4-years under Kelly, and included a BCS Championship Game appearance versus Alabama in 2012. In his tenure at South Bend, the Irish have won 3 of their 4 opening games.

 

Final Analysis
Rice still has enough offensive firepower returning that can be counted on to put up some points, against a Notre Dame defense that has some questions to be answered at the onset of the season. The Irish should be able to move the ball with relative ease throughout the day, versus a suspect at best Rice defense. I have a small lean toward this one being a high scoring affair.

Free College Football Pick: Rice/Notre Dame to go over the total of 51.0 at 5Dimes Sportsbook

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